“A great doctor must have a huge heart and a distended aorta through which pumps a vast lake of compassion and human kindness.”
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
Truthfully, this is the first nonfiction book I’ve read in a long time.
I found it while watching one of Doctor Mike’s YouTube videos, and thought I’d give it a shot.
And honestly, it was one of the most eye-opening experiences of the healthcare system I’ve ever been exposed to. I’ve watched many medical dramas before, but those are exaggerated for dramatic and entertainment purposes. But this book was the real experiences of a doctor in England and his journey as a OB-GYN.
It is funny and beautiful and tear-wrenching all at the same time. It reflects a system of healthcare in which doctors are undervalued and overworked and yet still manages to show readers that there is no better job in the universe. Kay talks about how his job took a toll on his personal life with H, his girlfriend, and his other friends from high school an med school.
It talks about so many patients that Kay saw over his life and sometimes the ways in which they died preventable deaths. It is a horrifyingly vivid picture of healthcare and its many many flaws. And yet there is also beauty. Kay talks about a feeling that he goes home with very often of making a difference in people’s lives – a difference between life and death.
Kay also says that he wrote this book to show the public (or as he calls them non-medics) that people don’t become doctors for the pay (as politicians often portray it) but to help people. They want to dedicate their lives to this cause and will sacrifice everything – from sleep to a social life to their mental health – to continue to help people.
“So I told them the truth: the hours are terrible, the pay is terrible, the conditions are terrible; you’re underappreciated, unsupported, disrespected and frequently physically endangered. But there’s no better job in the world.”
Overall, despite the many horrifying things this book exposed, it made me, an aspiring health professional, to want to join the many men and women on the front line and dedicate my life to helping people too.
“…but there’s no feeling like knowing you’ve saved a life. Not even that, half the time; just knowing you’ve made a difference is enough. You go home – however tired, late and blood-spattered – with a spring in your step that’s hard to describe, feeling like you have a useful part to play in the world.”
“You don’t cure depression, the same way you don’t cure asthma; you manage it. I’m the inhaler he’s decided to go with and I should be pleased he’s gone this long without an attack.”
“When I need a caffeine hit I tell the house officer to ‘review Mr. Buckstar’ and he pops down to Starbucks for me.”